Medicinal plant cultivation gets a leg up

The India government has announced a Rs 4,000-crore plan to promote herbal cultivation in the country which is expected to resolve the acute raw-material shortage faced by the AYUSH sector.

Under the scheme, announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, medicinal plants will be cultivated across the banks of river Ganga (nearly 800 hectare). Herbal corridors spanning across 10 lakh hectares will be set up in the next two years.

The plan will be implemented by the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), which has already brought 2.25 lakh hectares under medicinal plants.

The project also envisages setting up a network of regional mandis (markets) for medicinal plants to help farmers sell their produce and ensure availability of quality raw-materials for traditional medicinal systems like Ayurveda.

The scheme is expected to generate income of Rs 5,000 crore for farmers.

The Finance minister also announced a Rs 500-crore project to ensure availability of high-quality honey. Under the initiative, the government will focus on creating infrastructure for integrated beekeeping centres and post-harvest facilities.

“This will lead to increase in income for two lakh beekeepers and ensure quality honey for consumers,” Anurag Thakur, Minister of State for Finance, said while referring to renewed interest of researchers on medicinal plants in their efforts to find solutions to deal with Covid-19.

The NMPB has already implemented a national campaign titled ’20 Medicinal Plants for 2020’ to augment cultivation of 20 medicinal plants such as Ghritkumari, Satawari, Brahmi, Punarnava, Mandookparni, Hutjodi, Lemon grass, Gudhal, Adusa/vasa, Mehandi, Lajwanti, Sahjan, Karipatta, Tulsi, Amla, Patta Ajwayan, Giloe, Neergundi, Ashwagandha and Adrak.

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